Big Island CD Reviews


Lightning Larry Dupio
Love and Lightning
Indie release CD/DL

Lightning Larry Dupio’s seventh release covers a variety of genres: reggae, pop, jazz, but seems most at home with Dupio’s main dish, the blues. Love and Lightning’s 12 tracks feature some of the Big Island’s best players who add subtle coloring with saxophone (Jesse Snyder/Moon Brown), vocals (Joy McCluer/Scott Reagan/Andrew Dupio), with spectacular results. One noteworthy cut is “Party Party Party,” which sounds like it should’ve been included on a ZZ Top album. Dupio’s vocals are as gusty as his guitar! It’s easy to get lost in the sultry “No Rules” with saxman Snyder bouncing off of Dupio’s Santana-like solo, and Reggae McGowen keeping the flow steady with congas. Bottle of Blue’s vocalist Scott Reagan shows up on two tracks, but the shining gem is “A Story of the Blues,” where the pair deliver electric blues in royal fashion.

Visit Larry Dupio’s site here.

Editor’s note: Larry Dupio was scheduled to host an album release party on March 21 at the Blue Dragon Tavern with the Band of Lightning, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the venue temporarily closed. There’s talk the event might be rescheduled in May.


Belly of the Whale
anOtherEvolution Records CD/DL

For her debut album, Ydine’s Belly of the Whale is nothing short of a masterpiece. Recorded in downtown Hilo at Sonic Area Ola Studio in late 2018, Big Island’s rising star Ydine, along with twenty top-flight musicians, have assembled a 12-track collection of captivating tunes with empowering lyrics.

If you’ve ever experienced one of her high-energy concerts, you’ll recognize that same fire on tunes like “We Know,” a radio-friendly hard-rocker that simmers toward the end with outstanding piano work by Ydine. Besides rock, you’ll also find Latin and reggae styles on the recording.

In a 2018 interview I had with Ydine, the singer-songwriter cited many female performers like Lauryn Hill and Tori Amos who influenced her. Like them, Ydine’s vocals are strong and yet alluring, especially on the opening cut, “Majik,” a song about respecting the aina. Of special note on this track is the combination of Hawk Devi’s soul-stirring violin solo and Hope Medford’s rock-steady cajón.

Belly of the Whale’s audio quality and mix is superior, thanks to David W. Prichard who engineered and mixed it. The packaging is outstanding, too. From the dreamy cover art by Charlotte Ledger, the gatefold presentation, and the eight-page lyric insert, this album is such a classic I wish it were available on vinyl.

You can stream/download the album on a variety of platforms here. Visit Ydine’s website here.

Featured image: Bruce Mars


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